Author's Note: Welcome back! Hopefully this means you're enjoying the story so far...

This is just a reminder that there's some interesting extra material on the story in my website (link on my profile). You get to learn about all the races in the story (it's not all about fairies), about everyone's interesting relationship to gender (hint: it has no relationship to one's private parts), and about the main characters before some of them even show up here!

Go read those posts, then enjoy the second scene of Nessa's story!

1st January 1995

I don't have a home anymore. I just left the house I grew up in. Silent, hidden, shamed by the knowledge that I was the one who destroyed it.

His eyes followed me into the forest. Those empty, lifeless eyes. Staring from behind bushes, tree tops. Like how he hid behind the jacaranda tree next to my room and waited until I was alone to attack me.

I shouldn't think about that.

The wind is blowing stronger now. It's a relief from the warmth of the midday sun, but the whistling of the leaves in its wake sounds like mum's cries when she found us. A minute too late. She cried for her husband on the ground. Her life disintegrated in front of her eyes just as my own wings crumbled to dark, lifeless dust.

'Why?' she asked over and over. 'You killed him! How could you?'

My voice left me with my wings. I cried too. Grief. Horror. But most of all, unwelcome relief.

Mum's tears turned to an angry, steady tone that froze the trees around us. 'Go. You don't belong here. You're no longer my daughter.'

That was when I ran, found you and grabbed a few useful things out of my room. That was 3 hours ago. I'm out of the town's boundaries with just a diary, a change of clothes, and a map to guide me to wherever I'm supposed to go next.

Mum, I've found my voice again. I know you won't read this, but maybe the forest will carry my message if I say it loud enough.

I loved your husband. He was like a father to me. But something changed him - or maybe he was pretending all along? He wanted to take me away from you. To the demons. When he came for me, I thought I would be the one laying on the ground with a broken neck. And I didn't... I couldn't let it happen.

It doesn't make me any less of a killer. But I hope you understand I didn't want to do this. One moment his hand was on my throat, and the next...

No, I don't understand why either. But it doesn't matter now.

I'll keep moving forward. And hopefully so will you.

Author's Note: Thanksfor reading!

We're getting more of a sense of plot now. What happened between Nessa and her step-father? She'll have to tell that story eventually, but for now... all we can do is wait...

Some people who read this chapter pointed out to me that it may sound like the step-father's "attack" on Nessa sounded like sexual abuse. So I want to reassure readers that there will be no sexual violence of any kind in this story. Not sexual has ever happened between Nessa and her step-father (and obviously won't happen in the future).

Does it even happen in their world? I would like to think much less than in ours - if at all.

So if you like the prospects of a world like that, and it made you yearning for the next of Nessa's writings, now might be the time to consider going over to my Patreon page. My patrons get to see all my chapters one week before anyone else, and for as little as $1 per month! There are other nice rewards too, like a look at extra, unpublished materials or personalised thank you cards from your favourite characters.

It's very easy to do that too. The link is on my profile. Just go there and look for the giant orange button that says "Become a Patron"

The next scene will be out on Friday. Unless you're my patron, at which case you can read it right now, along with scenes 3, 4 and 5!

See you then!